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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Food for thought

So I've always been a granola fiend, but always saw it as a bit of a questionably ally when it came to health. After all, there was SO MUCH SUGAR in most of it. No wonder it was tasty. But then it also had oats and nuts and other, much more healthy stuff.. Oh the conundrum.

For some reason I had never really considered making my own, until a newsletter handily plonked a recipe directly in my lap: Sarah Wilson's coco-nutty granola, without sugar.
But surely it's only health freaks and those on restricted diets who make their own cereal? Meh, well I was curious. Mainly because it sounded really good!

So I tracked down my local supply of coconut flakes (Holland & Barrett), assorted nuts and other bits and pieces. The only substitution I had to make was to get agave nectar instead of brown rice syrup, which even the shop assistant hadn't heard of.

So to the chopping:

Here's the final mixture chillaxing on a baking tray:

And the final result! The batch on the left contains cocoa powder, so makes the granola just a little bit chocolatey.

What can I say, it was gooood. So good in fact that I had to make a second, larger batch a couple of days later because the previous supply had gone!

 And the health doesn't end there, oh no.. All hail the kale!

Spurred on by my granola success, I decided the time was right for more oven-related experimentation: kale chips!
I actually first thought about these some months ago, but then kale was difficult to come by as it was the wrong season - apparently kale needs frost? So now it was all over the place so it just seemed natural to give it a go.

I actually followed the instructions in a magazine, but really it's very simple:
- Set the oven to 120 degrees C
- Pour your kale onto a large, lined baking tray and spread out evenly - removing any large stalky bits
- Sprinkle some olive oil over your kale and massage in slightly to get good coverage. Some people also recommend a little salt.
- Toast the kale in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until all crisp
- Scoff and be amazed how great they taste

To me they taste a bit like popcorn which I realise is weird, but I don't care because they are so tasty!
A word of warning though, kale chips don't keep very well if left overnight in a non-airtight container. I decided to be sensible and leave some for the next day, but sadly by then they had lost some of their magic crispness and were a little disappointing.
So DON'T be sensible, scoff while at the peak or crunchy goodness.

Jumper round

Yes it is time to celebrate as I have finally finished my first jumper! Even though I'll admit that it will only fit a seven year old - and yes that was the intention.
The Happy Sweater is yet another creation by prolific Norwegian knitter and knit store owner Pickles who has made so many delightful designs, especially for children. I like the way that the patterns are uncomplicated and the results look wonderfully textured and just a little bit old fashioned. These are clothes for kids, not little adults.
So this little jumper went to M's nephew for Christmas and I believe it has found a good home.

However, M also has a niece so what better than to send her a similar gift but make it in the form of a knitted dress.

This pattern had me slightly riled as it was supposed to be for a 2 year old, but although I followed the instructions for this sizing it somehow ended up humongous. Thankfully I had the bright idea to add the little 'belt' to gather the dress a little and give it a bit more shape. You'll also note that I decided to add buttons the front incase the size was a little too big still, so that the shoulder straps could be crossed at the back if necessary and buttoned in place.

Anyway, it seems it was all worth the effort, and as a bonus I can say that I have officially finished a jumper :)